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Today in History – Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Television and Radio
The early, live, half-hour variety program “The Victor Borge Show” debuted on NBC in 1951. Borge’s blend of music and comedy earned him the nicknames “The Clown Prince of Denmark,” “The Unmelancholy Dane,” and “The Great Dane”…Also on this day: Fred bought Wilma a piano for their 10th anniversary on ABC’s “The Flintstones” in 1961; Ida Morgenstern (Nancy Walker) went to the doctor for the first time in decades on “Rhoda” on CBS; and Crockett (Don Johnson) and Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) were convinced that an attorney was doing more than just fighting for drug dealers on NBC’s “Miami Vice” in 1989…Three long-running series aired special episodes after The Super Bowl: Fox comedy “Malcolm in the Middle” in 2002 (to 21.4 million viewers), Fox medical drama “House” in 2008 (to 29 million) and CBS detective drama “Elementary” in 2013 (to 20.8 million)…Talent competition “The World’s Best“, hosted by James Corden and featuring judges Drew Barrymore, Faith Hill and RuPaul, launched on CBS after Super Bowl LIII in 2018. The series, developed by Mark Burnett (“Survivor”) and former Fox president of Alternative Entertainment Mike Darnell, debuted to 22.2 million viewers. Five weeks later, its season finale only delivered 3.6 million and was canceled.

“Shanghai Express” directed by Josef von Sternberg and starring Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brook and Anna Mae Wong premiered in Los Angeles in 1932. The film was remade as “Night Plane from Chunking” in 1943 and “Peking Express” in 1951.

Musicians Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and J. P. Richardson were killed in an airplane accident in Clear Lake, Iowa in 1959…“Meet the Beatles” album went gold in 1964…Single “Purple Haze” was recorded by Jimi Hendrix in 1967…Single “YMCA” by the Village People peaked at  No. 2 on pop singles chart in 1979… Reaching No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart: “Crocodile Rock” by Elton John in 1973; “It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy featuring Rikrok in 2001… during their Super Bowl XXXVI halftime show in 2002, rock band U2 paid tribute to the victims of September 11, 2001 by displaying their names on a sheet behind them as they performed their legendary hit songs.

The initial run of WWE’s Vince McMahon‘s Extreme Football League, also known as the XFL, launched in 2001. Its first game featured the NY/NJ Hitmen versus the Las Vegas Outlaws and was televised on NBC. The telecast delivered an impressive 9.5 U.S. household rating. But ratings for the XFL quickly eroded as the weeks followed and the league ended operations after just one season…Quarterback Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl as the New England Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI from New Orleans, La. in 2002. To-date, Brady has been at the helm of six Super Bowl championships and in line for his seventh coming up this Sunday for Super Bowl LV…The New England Patriots were one win away from completing the 2007-08 season 19-0 but, despite being favored by 12 points according to Vegas odds, ran into a pesky NFC Champion New York Giants squad in the thrilling Super Bowl XLII in 2008 from Glendale, Ariz. Down 14-10 with less than 3 minutes remaining, Giants quarterback Eli Manning escaped immense pressure from multiple members of the Patriots defense and threw downfield to wide receiver David Tyree. Tyree would catch the ball atop his helmet (despite Patriots strong safety Rodney Harrison at his back) to complete the key 32-yard pass. Later that drive, Manning threw to wide receiver Plaxico Burress for the game-winning 13-yard touchdown, clinching the 17-14 victory. It was the third Super Bowl title in Giants franchise history. To date, the 1972 Miami Dolphins remain the NFL’s lone team to accomplish an undefeated season…For Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, it was the first time brothers faced each other as head coaches of opposing teams: John Harbaugh (for the Baltimore Ravens) and Jim Harbaugh (for the San Francisco 49ers). After the Ravens extended their lead 28-6 at the start of the second half, the New Orleans Superdome experienced a partial power outage, delaying the game for 34 minutes. After the power fully came back, so did the 49ers as they scored 17 unanswered points. San Francisco would cut the Ravens’ lead to 2 points (to 31-29) in the fourth quarter. But the Baltimore Ravens would eventually emerge victorious by a score of 34-31, for the franchise’s second Super Bowl championship.

Stamps commemorating Diana, Princess of Wales went on sale in Britain in 1998.

Celebrity Birthdays:
Former NFL quarterback/”That’s Incredible” host Fran Tarkenton is 81; Actress Bridget Hanley (“Here Come the Brides”) is 80; actress Morgan Fairchild (“Search for Tomorrow”) is 71; actress Pamela Franklin (“The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie”) is 71; actor Nathan Lane (“The Birdcage”) is 65; actor Thomas Calabro (“Melrose Place”) is 62; actress Michele Greene (“L.A. Law”) is 59; singer Ramon Rodriguez (aka Daddy Yankee) is 44; singer Sean Kingston is 31; actor Brandon Micheal Hall (“God Friended Me”) is 28.

Did You Know?
Nathan Lane co-starred opposite Mickey Rooney and Dana Carvey in a 1983-84 sitcom called “One of the Boys. TV Guide ranked it number 24 on its TV Guide’s 50 Worst Shows of All Time list in 2002